This article is brought to you by Tracy, Teething Bling Australia
With only a matter of weeks to go before Christmas, you may well be panicking about whether or not your business is ready for the silly (spending) season. Well fear not, if you make it a priority there is still plenty you can do to ensure you don’t miss out on the wave of excitement and gift giving.
This applies to service businesses as well as retail and/or wholesale. The first requirement is to know your customer – your best customer – the one who comes back time and again to shop with you. They say 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers, and I have certainly seen that to be true. Your best customer will buy for themselves the first time, then buy a gift for a loved one and then tell their friends about your business. They love your brand and enjoy engaging with you on social media. You probably have a fair idea by now of their likes and hobbies: are they active outdoorsy people, do they love to cook and swap recipes, are they into craft, or is it all about family and traditions for them?
The second thing to realise is that email marketing will gain more sales than social media (the rule of thumb is emails gain four times as many sales). However, every business under the sun will be sending out newsletters over the coming weeks – you’ve probably noticed the increase already if you’re signed up to mailing lists yourself. People are being bombarded by products and ‘gift guides’, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Engage with your best customer (and the potential customers will follow), make it so they want to click through to your website – a box of crayons is not going to make that happen – so what will?
This is why knowing your customer is so important. What you need to do is solve a problem for them; the majority of my customers are mums with babies and young children, they most likely need help with things like juggling a baby and house guests, or keeping little ones happy with activities, while they get on with all the extra tasks that Christmas brings to every family. Young parents with their first baby may be looking for traditions that they can start for their new family. Make your newsletter about offering solutions to these real life issues (and put it in the subject line) – it could be as simple as a recipe or a free printable for the kids, or discussing traditions – but make it human, not ‘salesy’ – and draw people to your website by giving. When they like what they see they will linger for a better look and your generosity will instil a sense of trust.
Once they have reached your website you know what you need to do – at the busiest time of year convenience is the key – bundle your products together into gift packs; combinations that make sense for your business, perhaps a gift voucher for services, put a holly leaf on it! Offer specials for their friend or relative. For wholesale customers give bonus products with a certain minimum spend, make sure your stockists are aware of best sellers so they can be confident of making sales. Retail customers want boy/girl gift packs, gifts under $20 or under $50, offer free Christmas gift wrapping – that’s the easy part, the hard work is getting them in the door, so put your best effort into that.
Last of all you need to offer excellent customer service – with a smile! Your customer may be stressed, especially when we reach December, and products must be shipped promptly, allowing for realistic delivery times. Have a cut-off date for mail orders and stick to it – you don’t want a disappointed customer at any time of year, but especially not at Christmas. My customers often buy gifts for themselves (don’t all mums?!), so provide discount vouchers that they can use on Boxing Day and in January, when they can shop at their leisure and have the time to treat themselves. It’s a good idea to have some specials scheduled for immediately after Christmas, to give your customers an extra boost of good cheer. You can then sit back and relax with your family, knowing you have done your best – just go easy on the egg nog!
Tracy is mum to two fabulous little girls and is the owner of Teething Bling Australia. Teething Bling™ is the original chewable jewellery, designed for mums to wear and babies to love!
Christmas image courtesy of Nirots / www.freedigitalphotos.net